Concentric Circles of Recession

by Mayuri on April 28, 2010

We Are Not Out of the Falling Bubble Woods Yet.

I heard a joke the other day, that might have been funny if it weren’t so close to the truth.

“The last will and testament of the Icelandic financial sector requested their ashes be spread over Europe”. I loved what my husband’s friend said in response to hearing that: There was a special bequest to England who replied “We said cash not ash”.

But this is what is happening not just around Iceland debt, but debt in general all over the world. The debtors are being blamed, and the creditors have been given cash. The US government bailed out the banks- who were responsible for  making bad loans, but gave nothing to the debtors. In effect, the bankers have been paid for their bad loans.

As our economy is shrinking, these same creditors are grabbing as much as they can and in the process making the debtors feel guilty. The creditors are more guilty. They supported predatory lending- lending knowing that  the debts could never be paid. It is another chapter in  the wealth grab.

The 10,000,000 Americans who are probably going to lose their homes didn’t cause the problems, but they and the American people whose taxes funded the bailouts are going to be left holding the bag.

The economist Michael Hudson  has likened the American democracy at the moment to an Oligarchy. He said that 25 years ago, 1% of the American public owned 27% of equity income, meaning interest, dividends and capital gains. Five years ago, that amount was 57% and now it is 67% or 2/3. It has never been this unequal, this out of balance. In his view an oligarchy is last stage of democracy before aristocracy. If he is correct, then we are entering a period of neofeudalism.

I heard him say, he expects our standard of living to go down 50%.

What is interesting about the bailed out banks, is that they have come back for more. They have no shame.

In his article in Rolling Stone Magazine in April 2010, Matt Taibbi talks about the “basic battle plan of banks like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs have systematically set out to pillage towns and cities from Pittsburg to Athens. And even if the regultors manage to catch up with them billions of dollars later, the banks just pay a small fine ad move on to the next scam. This isn’t capitalism. This is nomadic thievery.” (Bold is mine)

But there was an even more telling statement he made in the same article. “We live in a gangster state and our days of laughing at other countries are over. It’s our turn to get laughed at.”

David Wiedemer, in his recent book Aftershock : Protect Yourself and Profit From The Next Financial Meltdown, which you can get from Amazon books, is warning us that we haven’t seen the last of the bubbles. There are two more to come that are inevitable as the falling bubbles start to cascade and that is the stock market bubble and discretionary spending bubble. A friend of mine who has been a stock market trader since the 1970s  says in his view all the indicators are there for  a falling stock market, but it’s just not happening. Yet.

So we are not out of the woods. Despite the announcement I heard last week that the recession is over. Don’t believe it. The failed bubbles we had been living in my whole adult life have nothing in them to restart them. We are no longer in a cyclical economy, but in an evolving economy. And that doesn’t mean evolving upward, it means into more reality. Where companies are valued on their price/earnings ratio and not on hype. Where tangible assets have more value than virtual ones.  The crash we recently experienced was just one of a series of concentric circles that are going to hit us over the near future.

So, it’s not time to go shopping.

So what does this have to do with money as a spiritual practice? Let’s find out.

Our apparent autonomy and independence as human beings has been  supported with  financial developments in our history such as the development of coinage which took us out of bartering, and then the concepts of borrowing and lending which was a significant step in the evolution of money. Then there was the creation of banking,  and the bond and stock markets. More recently, we have had  fractional reserve banking, derivatives, credit cards, and  a whole range of other creative financial instruments, some of which were also destructive, like mortgage backed securities.

The current economic crisis has made us realize that not only have  we been living in a delusion of autonomy and independence, but in fact globalization and the worldwide impact of the chinks of our money system has made the world more interdependent. It has also made us aware of the illusion of separateness. We are all in the same boat, and so any leakiness affects us all.

Recognizing we are interdependent beings also challenges the ego notion that we are separate individuals with our own autonomy. In fact, it is more than a notion, but a belief under which we live our lives. It seems obvious that we have our own bodies, our own minds, our own histories, our own likes and dislikes, our own jobs and our own bank accounts.  In fact we spend everyday in the mantra of “me, mine, my”. This belief in our separateness contributes to both the competiveness in our money system and our suffering around money. When we believe we are separate, then the other is either someone to get something from or to be afraid of.

If at our cores, we are not separate from the infiniteness of god, being, true nature whatever you want to call it, then where can we end?  And at the deepest level, we share all share that same beingness. We all manifest from the same core. We are literally all one.

If this was an understanding we all could share,  then we would no longer work at odds with each other trying to cut up abundance as if it were a pie, and  instead live in a world where truth had more value than greed and where economic return is based on mutual benefit. Not only would we be living in a more enlightened society, but we wouldn’t be at the mercy of gangsters.

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